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A punchier Povich

Returning yakker host makes Promax pitch

TORONTO — Viewers can expect “The New Maury Povich Show” to feature more emotionally-charged, topical subjects than the old show, Povich and Studios USA told exex at the Promax and BDA conference.

MTV Networks chairman/CEO Tom Freston, meanwhile, told the more than 6,000 marketers that although “branding” is crucial, there’s such a thing as overkill — “You can beat a brand to death.”

Povich, a veteran daytime talkshow host, is moving to Studios USA this fall after nine years with Paramount. In describing his show’s relaunch Sept. 14, Povich said Tuesday night aht talkshows are the best vehicle for current affairs stories, instead of newsmagazine programs such as “20/20.”

“I’ll be damned if those newsmagazines are going to steal my stories.”

His competition — including fellow Studios USA talker Jerry Springer — is moving in the opposite direction, said Povich, and that’s fine with him. “That gives us a huge turf that we can call our own.”

Sensitive Maury

That turf, added Studios USA Television president Steve Rosenberg, includes a level of sensitivity that viewers won’t find elsewhere. “What Maury does really well,” he said “is look at the camera and let you know exactly how he feels.”

Povich also said he intends to take his Gotham-based show on the road more often than he has in the past.

“What you are going to see will be a fast-paced, fresh, energetic talkshow,” said Povich.

Because the old Paramount-produced show will run through the summer, Studios USA’s promotional campaign will begin only after the relaunch. Studios USA exex declined to say how much has been budgeted to promote the reincarnation.

“Despite all the turmoil in the last year or year-and-a-half about me and where I’m going,” Povich said, referring to his chilly relations with Paramount, “the audience has been very loyal.”

Woman target aud

The new show will continue to pursue that same audience, primarily women aged 18-49 and 25-54. Rosenberg estimated that 80% of the local stations that carry “Maury Povich” have already signed up for “The New Maury Povich Show.”

“If we’re successful,” said Povich, “in one year they’ll be writing that we had the vigor, the foresight and the energy of a young Phil Donohue.”

In his keynote speech, Freston predicted that as branded delivery of entertainment via TV and computers converges over the next decade, the consumer will be pummeled with a vast new array of goods and services.

Even with a name as familiar as MTV, Freston warned that “you can beat a brand to death,” and turn viewers off.

Though the tidings he bore were less-than-Pollyannaish, the crowd was softened up by Freston’s opening, in which he referred to promotion as the most interesting and one of the most undervalued aspects of the biz, “more interesting even than programming.”

Separately, King World Intl. announced Tuesday that it has signed a deal with Western International Communications to distribute the second season of the CBS Network series “Candid Camera” to the nine television stations WIC owns and operates in Canada.

Funt fun

The 22 new half hour episodes are produced by Candid Camera Inc., with Peter Funt as the show’s executive producer and its co host. CBS recently renewed for fall ’98 the reworked series which captured the network first place for its Friday night time slot.

By the time Promax and BDA concludes on Saturday, participants will have had the opportunity to choose from almost 300 speakers, 125 sessions and workshops, and lots more to brush up on the hype biz, to nosh and to network. It will include speeches from Christopher Reeve and Moses Znaimer, the founder and helmer of Canada’s Chum/City empire.

The opener was kicked off with a song by the cast of the Broadway musical “Rent” and a brief appearance by “Titanic” septuagenarian actress Gloria Stewart, who told the crowd, “I love Promax and BDA. I take it every morning after breakfast.” Soul Diva Aretha Franklin gave a concert Wednesday evening.

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